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Dealing With Storm Damaged Trees

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

Monday night saw a large storm with extremely damaging winds blow through parts of the counties that I work in. The damage to trees was unbelievable, I saw pictures on Facebook and local media websites – trees ripped up from the ground, trees snapped in half, trees fallen on homes and vehicles, broken limbs, and more. I teach a lot about structural pruning and how to care for trees to make them a long term part of the landscape, but sometimes Mother Nature comes along and thwarts all of our best intentions.

With storm damaged trees you want to have them evaluated by a certified or reputable local arborist and have them cleaned up as soon. Once evaluated, with proper pruning and care, damaged branches and limbs can be removed and the tree can begin its path towards recovery. Sadly, as much as we want to keep our trees, sometimes the damage may be too extensive and complete removal of the tree may be required - severe loss of canopy, trees that show root lifting/soil movement/root breakage, severe trunk damage or splitting just to name a few examples of when trees should be removed. An experienced arborist will be able to properly evaluate and give you a professional recommendation.

You should resist the urge to try and clean up storm damaged trees yourself, especially with large trees or large broken limbs, branches hanging overhead, trees having come in contact with wires, or overhead chain saw work. There might situations where the trees are small enough or damage isn't severe enough and you have knowledge of proper tree pruning that you can clean up the storm damaged trees yourself. If you aren't comfortable or the job requires a professional to do the work, make sure to be selective in whom you have work on your trees.

After severe storms we may see those that happen to have a chainsaw knock on doors of those who have trees showing storm damage. The recommendation is to avoid those knocking on the door and directly contact a professional tree care company. After a storm many of them will be very busy and knocking on doors isn't in the schedule. With any professional, they should be able to provide proof of insurance as well as references upon request.

You can look for certified arborists in your area by visiting treesaregood.com which is the public side of the International Society of Arboriculture which also is host to a lot of great tree care information for homeowners. You can also contact me directly for more information about tree care or proper pruning at khoule@illinois.edu or 217-322-3381.



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